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    Buick Week: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo First Drive


    December 5th, 2012

    Drew Dowdell

    Managing Editor - CheerandGears.com

    I am running a bit late with today’s Buick Week entry because I spent the day running around the countryside surrounding Atlanta, Georgia putting a few 2013 Buick Encores through the paces. That review will be available for you to tomorrow. In case you missed it, yesterday we went on a First Drive of the 2013 Buick Enclave. On the first day of Buick week I took you on a full review of the 2013 Buick Verano. Today we are going on a first drive of the Buick Verano Turbo.

    Buick Week:

    Day 1 – 2013 Buick Verano Review

    Day 2 – 2013 Buick Enclave First Drive

    Day 3 – 2013 Buick Verano Turbo First Drive

    This ain't Buick first time at the rodeo...

    sml_gallery_51_518_23003.jpg
    Buick has a long history with forced induction engines and arguably more experience than any other US brand. Beyond the legendary Buick GNX and Grand National, Buick produced turbo versions of their Riviera and Regal coupes in the 1980s, super charged Regals, Rivieras, and Park Avenues in the 1990s, and recently reintroduced turbo-charging in the Regal with two performance levels of turbo charged engines in that car.

    But those are all larger luxury cars and this is a story about a compact. Did you know that Buick offered a fire cracker version of their compact, J-Body based Buick Skyhawk in 1984? The Turbo was offered only in the T-Type trim, the 1984 Skyhawk T-Type came with a 1.8 liter DOHC turbo-charged 4-cylinder putting out 150 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque in a car that weighed in right around 2400lbs. These are excellent power to weight numbers today much less in 1984, when GM’s V8s could not even wheeze out similar horsepower numbers. In 1987, Buick increased the engine’s displacement to a full 2.0 liters, horsepower was up to 165, and torque wrenched in at 175 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm. Production of the Skyhawk ended in 1989. Though relatively unknown, these Skyhawk T-types were fun little compacts that could provide a swift kick in the pants when asked to.

    But what's 1984 got to do with me?

    sml_gallery_51_518_126936.jpg
    That brings us to the present day. For 2013, Buick is adding a 2.0 liter turbo engine to their compact Verano. With 250 horsepower and 260 ft-lb of torque on tap from the direct injected engine will give you a swift kick in the pants just like that Skyhawk of old could. Weighing in at about 3,300 lbs, the Verano Turbo runs to 60 in 6.2 seconds. Though the mileage penalty (20 city/31 highway – manual) and (21 city / 30 highway – automatic) is minimal over the 2.4 liter powered Verano, Buick does recommend premium fuel, though it will sip regular if needed with a slight performance penalty.

    Buick invited me to drive both the manual and automatic transmission versions of the Verano Turbo through the countryside surrounding Louisville, KY.

    Visually, there is very little external difference between the Turbo and non-Turbo versions, you just get a rear spoiler, dual chrome-tip exhaust, and an extra badge on the trunk. Inside the story is much the same, save for a set of metallic sport pedals. My main complaint inside the Verano continues in the turbo editions: the lack of power seat recline for the driver and complete lack of power seat adjustment entirely for the passenger. For a car that can easily crest over the $30k mark, these are noticeable absences.

    med_gallery_51_518_57964.jpg

    Buick compacts: Now available in "Faster"

    The story of the Verano Turbo is entirely about how it drives. By starting with the already excellent handling of the base Verano and adding the thrust of the turbo charged engine, Buick has created a compact premium sedan that is deceptively quick.

    In the manual version, the shifter throws are a bit long, but they are nice and smooth. Once you’re accustomed to the car, relaxed shifting can be a simple two-finger “snick-snick” between gears. Torque comes on strong at low RPM and is maintained up to 5,500 – 6,000 rpm. You never seem to feel out of breath in this car like I had with the non-Turbo version. Turbo lag is minimal and non-car-nerds could be excused for thinking this is a V6 powered car. The clutch is on the light side and won’t wear out your left foot on long drives.

    sml_gallery_51_518_208341.jpg
    The automatic transaxle is an upgraded version of the same transmission in the 2.4 liter powered car. Designed to take the higher torque load of the turbo engine, it goes about its work with a lot less flare than the manual transmission equipped Veranos. It does have a driver control mode for manu-matic style shifting, but it really isn't necessary to use even during enthusiastic driving. Leaving the car in drive simply lets the transmission do the job GM programmers designed it to do. Still, if you want to tell it when to shift, down-shifts and up-shifts came in a crisp, business-like manner.

    The extra thrust wouldn't be worth much if the Verano couldn't handle it in the corners. Buick firmed up the Verano’s suspension and steering a bit resulting in a car that feels surprisingly well balanced for being front-wheel drive.

    On the issue of noise control, Buick actually had to dial back the quiet tuning a little bit because they felt that Verano buyers who opted for the Turbo model would actually want to hear more of the engine while driving. Most of the change comes from exhaust tuning and gives the Verano Turbo a sound that can start the gears turning in a gear head.

    Overall the Verano turbo is for the buyer who appreciates the comfort of a premium compact but still want to have the that extra trust to experience an exhilarating run down a country road. Buick is reporting over 50% conquest rate for all Verano models with over 50% of those coming from import brands. Additionally, Buick has seen their average buyer age drop by 7 years over the last 5 years. Buick did not share with me the take rate on Veranos equipped with the 2.0t. but the turbo-boosted 2013 Buick Verano should help Buick turbo-boost those numbers even more in their favor.

    Drew Dowdell is Managing Editor of CheersandGears.com and can be reached at Drew.Dowdell@CheersandGears.com or on twitter as @cheersngears

    Disclaimer: Buick provided transportation to and accommodations in Louisville, KY for this event.

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    Nice write up, sounds like Buick has a true winner that will meet many peoples needs for a compact near luxury ride. This should compete and win sales from Acura, Lexus and Infinity. Nice to see Buick doing to the mid market segment what ATS is doing the top level luxury segment.

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    Nice to see a stick available. The two issues I have with this car are the turbo engine it'self and the lack of interior storage, which seems to be common to all the new Buicks. For this small of a car I expect better than V6 mileage and performance. In fact the much larger Accord is quicker and gets a full 4 better highway MPG for about the same coin with world better interior space and similar sport. Still this car is a good start for Buick shoppers and does offer a nice dose of luxury.

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    Nice to see a stick available. The two issues I have with this car are the turbo engine it'self and the lack of interior storage, which seems to be common to all the new Buicks. For this small of a car I expect better than V6 mileage and performance. In fact the much larger Accord is quicker and gets a full 4 better highway MPG for about the same coin with world better interior space and similar sport. Still this car is a good start for Buick shoppers and does offer a nice dose of luxury.

    Same can be said for the 2.4 ILX w.r.t. Accord.

    The car markets are different.

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    There is a difference in nimbleness between this and the Accord.

    in no way did the 2013 accord or the ones before that ever felt -nimble-. the constant impression that car and driver and such gives of the accord being a sporting car, i just don't get. the accord sucks.

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    There is a difference in nimbleness between this and the Accord.

    in no way did the 2013 accord or the ones before that ever felt -nimble-. the constant impression that car and driver and such gives of the accord being a sporting car, i just don't get. the accord sucks.

    Exactly. The Fusion and Optima are more nimble than the Accord and the Verano Turbo is more nimble than all of them. The ILX may have a slight edge on the Verano Turbo at 8/10th, but below that skill level, no one would be able to tell the difference. The interior and especially the noise level of the Verano is far more premium than the ILX is.

    The ILX is for the fart can Civic driver who just got promoted to front end team lead at the local bank branch.

    The Verano Turbo is for everyone else who wants a premium car with zest but is more mature about it.

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    There is a difference in nimbleness between this and the Accord.

    in no way did the 2013 accord or the ones before that ever felt -nimble-. the constant impression that car and driver and such gives of the accord being a sporting car, i just don't get. the accord sucks.

    Exactly. The Fusion and Optima are more nimble than the Accord and the Verano Turbo is more nimble than all of them. The ILX may have a slight edge on the Verano Turbo at 8/10th, but below that skill level, no one would be able to tell the difference. The interior and especially the noise level of the Verano is far more premium than the ILX is.

    The ILX is for the fart can Civic driver who just got promoted to front end team lead at the local bank branch.

    The Verano Turbo is for everyone else who wants a premium car with zest but is more mature about it.

    :rofl:

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    My point is that you can get a far larger car that IMO is plenty nimble in 2013 Sport trim with more V6 power and better mileage than GM is doing with there smaller turbo 4's. This small of a car should be quicker and easily be able to hit 35 highway MPG. The Fusion and Optima are two more examples of why it would be hard to settle for the cramped Verano.

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    I finally drove a Verano, though not a turbo a few days ago. Wanted to like it because the value, quiet and quality of materials but the driving experience was decidedly biased towards comfort and isolation, in the way an ES350 or Lacrosse would be IMO, but a little more agile feeling due to the smaller size.

    If they offered a firmer sport suspension/tires on the turbo as an option down the line maybe I'll take one for a spin, or look for availability of aftermarket options.

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    repeat - the new Accord sucks. It is not at all the big to do like the f_ckheads at Car and Driver make it out to be.

    It's a pathetic example of bias and probably payola.

    I'll lay 16 trillion down right now that the new Mazda6 is a much better car than the new Accord, but the assholes at C/D will still lay claim to the Accord being sliced bread and everything more.

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    If you're looking for a nice big family sedan that is efficient, Passat TDI all the way. It feels sorta like am older S-class inside.

    My neighbor traded in her VW CC for a new black Passat TDI last week. She's very happy with the Passat and likes the fuel mileage she's getting.

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    My dad really wants a TDI passat. He loves diesel though. Used to wrench em. He's pretty much had all GM and Cadillacs his entire life. He really wants that Passat TDI.

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    The only thing he might miss is the ability to put the spurs into it at highway speeds. The Passat is a big comfy package. If they ever make a larger TDI engine for it, that would really address my only complaint. They could put the Audi 3.0 TDI in, but I suspect Audi wouldn't like that. So make a 2.8 TDI version to use in the Veedubs.

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    • By William Maley
      Summertime means something different for everyone. For some, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. For others, it is the time to take that trip you have been thinking about for awhile. If you’re an automotive writer like myself, summertime means convertible season. The feeling of having the roof down and enjoying the expanded view of the sky is something quite special. This summer saw two of GM’s latest convertibles roll into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit garage, the new Buick Cascada and recently redesigned Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. How did these two droptops fare in the summer heat?
      Exterior:
      There is no denying the Opel/Vauxhall roots of the Buick Cascada as it is just basically the Cascada sold in Europe with Buick basing. But that isn’t a bad thing since the Cascada is handsome for the most part. The front features a new grille design and headlights with LED accents. The side profile reveals short overhangs for the front and rear. These overhangs make the side look somewhat oddly proportioned. A set 20-inch wheels come standard. Around back, a long chrome bar runs along the trunk lid into the taillights. 
      On the opposite end is the Chevrolet Camaro. If you’re looking for something quiet and doesn’t bring attention, then maybe you should pass on it. Redesigned last year, Chevrolet retained the Camaro’s basic profile with its sharp lines and rounded corners. But major work was done on the front and rear ends. The front features a narrow top grille and slim headlights. A massive grille sits underneath between a set of deep cuts into the front bumper. The back has been cleaned up with a new trunk lid design, rectangular headlights, and quad-exhaust tips. 
      One item both the Cascada and Camaro share is a fabric top. Putting the top down or up takes under 20 seconds for both vehicles. With the tops down, both vehicles look quite good. But put the tops up and the Cascada is the better looking of the two. I can’t put my finger as to why, but I think it deals with how the Cascada has a little bit more glass than the Camaro. 
      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
      In the case of the Cascada, it features the dash from the outgoing Verano and Encore. This reveals that the Cascada is older despite what Buick may have you think. For example, the center stack is laden with buttons and it will take you a few moments to find the specific one you’re looking for. Not helping is the Cascada using GM’s last-generation infotainment system. While the system is easy to use, the interface is looking very dated. It would have been nice if Buick could have slipped in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascade, but that would have likely introduced more problems than solutions.
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      Power for the Buick Cascada comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The figures are impressive for this engine. But drop it into the Cascada and it is quite disappointing. Performance is very lethargic as the engine has to overcome the nearly two tons of Cascada. It feels like an eternity getting up to speed and you’ll find yourself putting the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle moving at a sufficient rate. EPA figures for the Cascada stand at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed at 21 mpg. 
      The Camaro’s engine lineup includes a 3.6L V6, turbocharged 2.0L four, and our SS tester’s 6.2L V8. The V8 pumps out 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. We had the optional eight-speed automatic, but you can get a six-speed manual. The V8 makes the Camaro Convertible stupidly fun. I found myself wanting to roll down the window at a stop light to tell the vehicle next to me “let me play you the song of my people” before stomping on the accelerator and having the V8 roar into life as the light turns green. The engine will pin you in your seat if you floor it and there is a never-ending stream of power throughout the rev range. A nice touch is the optional dual-mode exhaust system that only amplifies the noises of the V8. The eight-speed automatic is ofine around town and on the highway but stumbles somewhat in enthusiastic driving where it takes a moment to downshift when slowing down. Fuel economy for the Camaro SS Convertible stands at 17 City/28 Highway/20 Combined. I got about 19 mpg during my week-long test.
      Ride & Handling:
      Describing the ride and handling characteristics of the Cascada can be summed up in one word; smooth. Buick’s engineers tuned the Cascada’s suspension to deliver an almost magic carpet ride. Even with a set of twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment, the Cascada is able to deal with rough roads with no issues. Around corners, the Cascada feels planted and body roll is kept in check. But don’t plan on doing anything enthusiastic with it. The steering is a little bit too light for it. Drive it like a relaxed cruiser and you’ll enjoy it. Wind buffeting is minimal with either the windows rolled up or down.
      The Camaro Convertible is shocking as to how well it handles. Part of this comes down to optional Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system which limits body roll. Chevrolet engineers also worked on improving the structural rigidity of the Camaro. The combination makes the convertible just as good as the coupe in corners. Direction change is fast and there is plenty of grip coming from the meaty tires. Where the Camaro Convertible falters is the ride quality. The SS comes with a set of twenty-inch wheels. While they do look sharp, it makes for a somewhat unbearable ride. Bumps of any size are clearly transmitted to those sitting inside. MRC does its best to provide a comfortable ride, but it might be worth considering going down to a smaller wheel to improve the ride. Wind buffeting is kept in check with the windows up or down.
      Price:
      The 2016 Buick Cascada starts at $33,065 for the base model. Our up-level Premium starts at $36,065 and comes to an as-tested price of $37,385 thanks to the vehicle being finished in an optional blue color. You really don’t get much in terms of additional features when compared to the base Cascada aside from some additional safety features - front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert - and automatic wipers. Also for that amount of cash, you could with the Audi A3 cabriolet which offers a slightly more premium interior. But you would lose out on the larger back seat of the Cascada. You would be better off with the base Cascada.
      If you have your heart set on a Camaro Convertible, be ready to shell out the cash. The 2016 Camaro 2SS Convertible carries a base sticker of $48,300 - $6,005 more expensive than the coupe. Add on the list of options fitted to our tester such as the eight-speed automatic, magnetic ride control, and dual-mode exhaust system and you’ll end up with an as-tested price of $54,075. I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up from the floor due to the price shock. The Camaro is nice car all-around, but is it really worth dropping $54,000?! We’re not so sure. 
      Verdict:
      Both of vehicles have issues that don’t make them as appealing. The Cascada’s engine either needs to be kicked to the curb or head off to the gym to get a bit more power. It would nice if Buick could also figure how to put in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascada, although that might prove to be an engineering nightmare and something that would be better suited for the next-generation model. The Camaro Convertible’s price tag will make a number of people and their bank accounts cry. Also for being a convertible, the Camaro still feels as claustrophobic as the coupe.
      But when you drop the tops in both models, you forget all about the issues. Instead, you begin to take in the sky and rush of the wind. This makes you remember why you bought a convertible, to enjoy the feeling of openness. It is only when you put the top back up that makes you wonder if you can live with the issues. In the case of the Cascada, the answer is no. The Camaro is a maybe.
       
       
      Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Cascada and Camaro; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Buick
      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
      Base Price: $36,065
      As Tested Price: $37,385 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Deep Sky Metallic - $395.00
      Year: 2016
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Camaro Convertible
      Trim: SS
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 455 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 455 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/28/20
      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $54,075 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Magnetic Ride Control - $1,695.00
      Eight-Speed Automatic - $1,495.00
      Dual-Mode Exhaust - $895.00
      Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $495.00
      20" 5-Split Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $200.00
    • By William Maley
      The Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse are well past their sell-by-date. GM knows this and will be introducing new versions of both within the next year. We haven't seen any spy shots of either model, til today.
      Autoblog published some spy shots of the next-generation Buick Enclave undergoing some hot-weather testing in Death Valley. From the shots, it looks like Buick will be retaining the shape of the current model. Although, it looks like the roofline has changed somewhat towards the back. We can pick out the new grille that we first saw on the new LaCrosse along with a set of LED running lights.
      The Enclave is expected to use a stretched version of the Chi platform that currently underpins the new GMC Acadia.
      Source: Autoblog

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse are well past their sell-by-date. GM knows this and will be introducing new versions of both within the next year. We haven't seen any spy shots of either model, til today.
      Autoblog published some spy shots of the next-generation Buick Enclave undergoing some hot-weather testing in Death Valley. From the shots, it looks like Buick will be retaining the shape of the current model. Although, it looks like the roofline has changed somewhat towards the back. We can pick out the new grille that we first saw on the new LaCrosse along with a set of LED running lights.
      The Enclave is expected to use a stretched version of the Chi platform that currently underpins the new GMC Acadia.
      Source: Autoblog
    • By William Maley
      Chevrolet Retail Share Up in August and 7 Out of 8 Months This Year
      Record ATPs reflect retail strength and strong mix Disciplined incentive spending significantly below industry average Inventories low but growing on all-new Buick Envision, GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT5 Cadillac gains retail share DETROIT – Despite very tight dealer inventories, General Motors (NYSE: GM) sold 212,915 vehicles to individual or “retail” customers in August, down about 5 percent from last year, but in line with the industry’s retail performance for the month. 
      Based on initial estimates, Chevrolet’s retail market share rose 0.4 percentage points in August to 11.0 percent.  Chevrolet has gained retail market share in seven out of eight months this year, and remains the industry’s fastest growing full-line brand.    
      GM’s total sales in August were down about 5 percent year over year to 256,429 vehicles.
      Year to date, GM’s performance is reflecting a very strong retail business.  
      Retail share up 0.5 percentage points Average transaction prices up more than $2,500 Disciplined incentive spending, in line with 2015 Daily rental deliveries down 34 percent Disciplined inventory levels and growing availability of key launch products Through the first eight months of the year, GM retail sales are up 1 percent, which continues to be the largest retail share gain of any full-line automaker.  Year to date, Chevrolet retail sales are up more than 2 percent and the brand’s retail share has grown 0.5 percentage points. Year to date, Buick retail deliveries have grown 3 percent and Buick has gained 0.1 percentage points of retail share.
      “Despite tighter dealer inventories, we had a solid retail performance in August led by Chevrolet, which gained retail share in eight different segments,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations. “Our retail strength is reflected in our record ATPs in August, which were up more than $1,600 from last month and nearly $5,800 above the industry average while our incentive spending was below the industry average and well below our domestic competitors.”
      In addition, GM continues to take advantage of a strong, stable U.S. economy and industry.
      “All the economic factors continue to point toward a strong second half of the year and another potential record year for the industry,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist. “We think the industry is well positioned for a sustainable high level of customer demand.”
      August Retail Sales and Business Highlights vs. 2015 (except as noted)

      Chevrolet
      Malibu, Cruze, Trax, Silverado, Colorado, Spark, Tahoe and Suburban, and Corvette all gained retail share in their respective segments Colorado, Suburban, Tahoe and Trax were up 35 percent, 42 percent, 29 percent and 17 percent, respectively Cruze, Malibu, Corvette and Volt were up 18 percent, 9 percent, 16 percent and 52 percent, respectively Year to date, Chevrolet posted its best retail sales performance since 2007 Year to date, Malibu had its best performance since 1981 Corvette had its best August since 2008 Tahoe and Suburban had their best August since 2008 Colorado had its best August ever Crew Cab Silverado had its best August ever HD Silverado had its best August since 2007 GMC
      Canyon, Yukon and Yukon XL were up 39 percent, 43 percent and 66 percent, respectively The brand had its highest monthly ATP on record at $45,000 Denali penetration reached more than 28 percent, the highest on record Sierra had its best year to date sales since 2006 Canyon had its best August ever Yukon and Yukon XL had their best August since 2007 Yukon had its 12th consecutive month of year over year growth Buick
      Buick dealers delivered 1,531 Envisions, in line with plan All-new Lacrosse began shipping to dealers in late August Year to date, Encore up 21 percent Six out of 10 Cascada buyers and more than half of Encore buyers are new to GM Cadillac
      Escalade was up 8 percent Cadillac dealers delivered 4,839 XT5s CT6 had its best month since launch Average Transaction Prices (ATP)/Incentives (J.D. Power PIN estimates)
      GM’s ATPs, which reflect retail transaction prices after sales incentives, were $36,730, nearly $5,800 above the industry average and more than $2,500 above last August’s performance GM’s incentive spending as a percentage of ATP was 11.1 percent, below the industry average of 11.5 percent and well below other domestic and select Asian competitors. Fleet and Commercial
      GM’s fleet mix in August was 17 percent of total sales, below the company’s full-year guidance of 20 percent and 19 percent year to date According to plan, daily rental sales were 10 percent of GM’s total sales for August and 10 percent year to date with deliveries up 4 percent in August Large vans were up 18 percent for August Sales to small business are up 3 percent year to date Industry Sales
      GM estimates that the seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) for light vehicles in August was approximately 17.2 million units. On a calendar year-to-date basis, GM estimates the light-vehicle SAAR was 17.3 million units
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